The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
First observed in II 3319 at the earliest1; practised at least until III 3019
Race
Division
Culture
Gondorians (and perhaps also Men of Arnor)

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  • Updated 24 May 2018
  • This entry is complete

Standing Silence

A custom among the Gondorians

"...we look towards Númenor that was, and beyond to Elvenhome that is, and to that which is beyond Elvenhome and will ever be."
Faramir's explanation of the Standing Silence The Two Towers IV 5
The Window on the West

A tradition of the Dúnedain, at least of the South-kingdom,2 in which they would turn to the west and stand for a moment in silence before the beginning of a meal. The Standing Silence commemorated the lost land of Númenor, from whose people the Dúnedain of Middle-earth were descended, as well as the lands of the Elves beyond the Sea, and also the land of the Valar in the Uttermost West.


Notes

1

All we can say for certain about the dating of the Standing Silence is that the custom was known to have been followed in Gondor at the end of the Third Age. Since it commemorated downfallen Númenor, the tradition cannot have preceded the Downfall of II 3319, but of course it may have developed long after that event. Given the intention of also remembering Eldamar and Valinor in the West, it is conceivable that the Standing Silence grew out of an earlier observance among the Faithful of Númenor.

2

It's unclear whether all the Dúnedain followed this custom; we only see it observed by the people of the South-kingdom, and it may therefore have been confined to the people of Gondor. There's no record of Aragorn or any of the Northern Dúnedain so much as mentioning the tradition, but this is hardly conclusive (the Gondorian Boromir never made reference to it, either, despite his long travels with the Fellowship).

See also...

Gondorians

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 24 May 2018
  • This entry is complete

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